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December 7, 2017

$60m Bitcoin heist potentially hits cryptocurrency mining site

The bitcoin price is currently soaring, but will investors be disinclined by this major example of vulnerability?

By Tom Ball

Cryptocurrency mining site NiceHash has sustained a cyberattack and it looks like hackers have stolen Bitcoin worth as much as $60 million.

NiceHash has not confirmed how much has been stolen, but the wallet thought to be involved in the breach is known to contain 4,736 Bitcoins, valued at around $68 million.

Although amounts have not been confirmed, NiceHash has come forward with details of the situation and how the breach is thought to have been achieved.

According to the NiceHash head of marketing, Andrej P Škraba, the breach was caused by “a highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering.”

$60m Bitcoin heist potentially hits cryptocurrency mining site

In a statement the company said: “Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.”

This potentially colossal heist has been committed as Bitcoin continues to break its own price records, most recently crossing over the $14,000 mark.

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Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault, said: “Cryptocurrencies are rapidly increasing in value, making them an interesting investment opportunity for many. Unfortunately, this success attracts criminals. Coupled with the fact that cryptocurrencies do not have stringent regulatory or compliance checks, security is left in the hands of the cryptocurrency platform developers – often leading to lax security controls that can be bypassed.”

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Bitcoin’s popularity is at an all-time high but investors could quickly lose confidence if security cannot be guaranteed. In light of this problem and the growing value of Bitcoin, leading bodies around the globe may be prompted to consider regulating cryptocurrency.

While the price of Bitcoin has been rising in many parts of the world, the likes of China, Russia, Vietnam and South Korea have put restrictions in place against the use of cryptocurrencies, a trend that the CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, foresees spreading across the world.

Another negative reaction to the Bitcoin journey is evident in news coinciding with that of the breach, as game company Valve has decided to longer permit bitcoin payments on its Steam platform.

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